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    • Cries for Sanders to Be Conciliatory Miss the Point
      So, Sanders has most likely lost. Last minute upsets are possible, but highly unlikely. And now come the calls for Bernie to be conciliatory. This misses the point. Sanders doesn’t need anything Clinton can give. Any promises she makes with respect to his priorities are not credible. He’s old and his career is all but […]
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Wonderful Wednesday after Tremendous Tuesday: Short Notes

I’m awake now. Here are some thots in no particular order, feel free to add yours to the comments:

1.) Obama is supposed to pick a supreme court replacement today. I’m guessing that whoever it is will not really upset the stranglehold that conservatives have on the court especially with respect to the wealthy and well connected. I mean, he’s got to make a living after his term is over. Can’t upset his patrons too much. Besides, the Republicans would be stupid to turn him down on this even if they have to give up on overturning Roe v Wade. They’ve gotten pretty much all they wanted on abortion and they can always cynically fire up their base about it for the upcoming general election. They know how this works.

And so do we.

Here’s a blurb about Obama’s potential picks and strategy:

Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, said Mr. Obama must decide whether to pick a “grand-slam” candidate — one like Judge Srinivasan, who is young, moderate and could have a profound effect on the court — or a “sacrifice fly,” like Judge Watford, an impressive judge whose positions on the death penalty and immigration would draw criticism from conservatives but whose nomination could exact a political price from Republicans who oppose him.

“The Obama White House are the ultimate practitioners of realpolitik — they have to be making a careful calculus, but the real question is not how do they win, it’s what game are they playing?” Mr. Turley said.

The choice depends in large part, they said, on whether Mr. Obama believes his nominee ultimately has a chance at being confirmed: “At best, the White House is looking at a highly contested nomination, and in those circumstances, the president generally will look for someone who is thoroughly moderate or a blind date.”

Judge Srinivasan, who would be the court’s first Indian-American, has the shortest judicial record of the three, which could limit the potential for conservative attacks, but also makes him a bit of an ideological cipher. Judge Watford, an African-American, could be the most liberal of the nominees, and did not get the kind of universal support that Judge Srinivasan did during his previous confirmation battle.

Um, from what I can recall, Srinivasan represented Enron at some point.

In any case, it ain’t going to be a liberal. As long as the court was 5-4 in favor of the conservatives, Obama could potentially nominate a more liberal-ish justice. We still have no idea how liberal Kagan and Sotomayor are because the other 5 justices are so far to the right. Yes, even Kennedy.

But as soon as one of the 5 died, it became important to restore the “balance”.

Just wait.

Toldja.

2.) Bernie people are welcome here. Except for the Butthurt guys (they are almost always guys).

3.) At this time in 2008, Hillary was crushing Barack Obama. Yep, go back and look. If you had added Florida and Michigan delegates to her totals, something the party deliberately withheld and the media never questioned, she would have appeared unstoppable. But stop her the party did, in favor of a guy who kept winning places like Idaho instead of the woman who won CA, MA, NY, NJ, PA, OH, TX, etc, etc. ( I’m always amused by the media people who insist that it would be *inconceivable* for a party to ignore the majority of their voters who want a particular candidate. We’ve seen that it can happen very easily and the party just muzzles the majority of its voters. That may come back to bite it eight years later when they find that some of their “old coalition” has defected to Donald Trump. You tried to warn them but did they listen?)  All I’m saying is that Hillary can never, ever let her guard down with her own party. There is an element in the party that is not ever going to accept her. But the Democrats are much more tolerant of sexism than racism. Let’s just admit that. And that means they rejected her in 2008, made her wait eight painful years, and will persist in withholding full acceptance because for these guys (and they are almost always guys) there is always another guy out there who is more profound, a genius, underappreciated, wise, younger than he looks blah-blah-blah. They will believe absolutely everything negative that is said about Hillary. It’s confirmation bias. So, for her, it will always be an uphill climb.

4.) That being said, she could make it a bit easier on herself if she stopped fluffing Obama and sang her own praises. Any guy from the party who runs next time will make damn sure to distance himself from her accomplishments. And in this case, Obama doesn’t really have significant accomplishments. There aren’t a lot of Obamacare fans out here, Hillary. Plus, no president in his right mind would pass up the chance to take out Bin Laden. It’s expected. So, you know, time to think of yourself. That’s what the sincere Bernie supporter is telling you. They’re desperate for a real change agent.

5.)  I was listening to CNN and their “journalists” really are clueless. It turns out that Trump supporters are “very concerned” with the economy. But the “journalists” say that these same people report that they are holding their own. My guess is that those people know people who have fallen through the big gaping holes in what used to be known as the safety net and they are worried sick that it will happen to them. Count me among the well known horror stories in my family. A college education and career in a STEM profession didn’t help me- at. all. It has been truly awful in ways I can’t even describe. THAT’S what could happen to any one of them.

And so what if gas prices have fallen. Have you seen the price of beef?? Just about a month ago, a single broccolli crown in one of the nicer grocery stores here cost $3.99. When did broccolli become an endangered species? So, you know, it’s still rough out here for those of us who had to go back to entry level jobs to make a living. If you’re living in Atlanta and you are a “journalist” making a couple hundred thousand working for CNN, maybe this is not obvious to you. Try to acknowledge that.

6.) Another episode of “The People vs OJ Simpson” dropped last night. One of the things I didn’t know about this case was how strenuously OJ objected to be seen as a black man. Johnny Cochran had to unwhiten his estate before the jury took a walk through, and brought african american art and personal photos from his own house to stage Simpson’s house. Oj Simpson’s peers were his neighbors in Brentwood, the people he golfed with, the wealthy white sports team owners, hot white women, and other people with privilege and power. Cochran had to erase all of that when the trial was moved from Santa Monica courthouse to downtown LA and he was phenomenally successful in changing Simpson from a man of privilege who hadn’t known hardship in twenty years, to a black man who was oppressed by the system.

But those of us who watched the evidence from the distance of two thousand miles away knew he was guilty. We also knew that his dream team cynically screamed racism for a guy who didn’t give two fucks for the people who acquitted him and would never be seen in their company. If they only knew what contempt he had for them and how helping them was the absolutely last thing on his agenda, would they have still voted to acquit? I wonder…

7.) Renegade female biologists strike the first blow on the science journal racket and post their preprints to the web in advance of publishing. Sweeet!

The Supreme Court takes on Abortion- Again

Just a heads up about the arguments that are going to be before the Supreme Court this week on abortion. Check out this enlightening piece by Linda Greenhouse in the NYTimes to see what all the fuss is about. Short summary: The state of Texas is requiring abortion clinics to comply with certain clinic building codes and physician admitting requirements that it doesn’t require of facilities that perform colonoscopies or liposuctions. They’re doing this in the name of “womens’ health”.

The outcome of this case is less certain at this time now that Scalia is dead. There could be a 4-4 tie and the fact that the court watchers are saying that this is a possible outcome confirms to me that Anthony Kennedy is not really that much of a swing voter. In the Casey decision, it was Sandra O’Connor who talked him out of joining the more conservative justices. With Scalia gone, his vote is even less diluted. If the court is tied, the lower court order is upheld which means the facilities will have to comply with the new Texas Law. If that happens, who knows what states will follow. We could be looking at a scenario that we had in the early 70’s when only a few states had abortion clinics and you had to fly to them.

On a related note, Jill Duggar Dillard and her husband are on a mission of their own making to convert the Catholic heathens in one of the central American countries (I can’t remember if it’s Guatemala or Honduras or what). This puts her and her particularly uncompromising version of “christianity” on a collision course with the Zika virus. That’s because the Duggars do not practice any kind of birth control, at all. It goes without saying that abortion is out of the question.

So, when she gets pregnant again, and for all we know, it’s already happened, she’s going to be smack dab in the middle of a crisis from the very beginning of her pregnancy. What complicates this even more is that the Pope recently told women that maybe it’s kinda sorta Ok to not get pregnant. It was a subtle *wink, wink* to go ahead and use birth control because life is harsh enough in poor areas of central and South America without having to raise a microcephalic, blind baby.

Let’s see how long it takes before the Catholic pagans in Jill’s mission run her and her hubby out of town on a rail.

Real meets reality.

 

Scalia: Interjections!

scalia-gesture_400x400I woke from my pre-bedtime nap yesterday to find that news of Antonin Scalia’s death was almost an hour old.  I uttered an uncharitable interjection.

It was uncharitable because I did not think of his family or his grandchildren or anything like that. It was uncharitable because his death is one of those eucatastrophes in an already unorthodox election year that could blow the joint wide open.

First, let me get out of the way that I did not like Antonin Scalia. I’ve heard that some of his opinions on defendent’s rights were good and he had a soft spot for habeas corpus. So, the guy wasn’t all bad.

But this is the same Supreme Court justice who helped give us Citizen’s United and didn’t think Brown vs the Board of Education was a good decision.

If you are the kind of voter who only cares about abortion and whether gay people get away with doing “unnatural” things with their naughty bits without being stoned, then Scalia was your guy. I might point out that the Supreme Court has had five justices to overturn Roe v Wade for over eight years now and as far as I know, it hasn’t been overturned so someone hasn’t been entirely honest with you.

But if you cared about more than sexual morality, then Antonin Scalia was one of the moving forces behind some of the most regressive Supreme Court decisions of our modern age. He affected everything from voting rights to workers rights.

I have to admit that I have had a secret desire that one of the conservative justices would reach an age where their parts would unexpectedly wear out in time to make a difference. It didn’t much matter to me which one it was. Roberts, Alito or Thomas are too young so I suppose it had to be Scalia.

So, what does this mean for 2016? Well, one of the first things to come to my mind is that there won’t be enough justices to tamper with the voting rights act case they were planning to take on. That one, had it been decided 5-4 along party lines, would have stripped urban districts of even more voting strength because some rural districts in Texas complained they didn’t have the population to go toe to toe with a place like Austin. And it won’t have the extra vote to stick a knife through the heart of public unions by allowing freeriders to not pay dues. Those were two juicy decisions that I am sure the Republicans are going to hate losing.

We can speculate on how this will play out in this election year.

If the Republicans decide to block the appointment of a new Supreme Court justice, The Democrats can use that in the general election to illustrate that when Republicans don’t like something, they don’t compromise, they don’t concede the other side’s right to do what the law requires. No, they obstruct. They’ve been doing this for at least two decades in every branch of government. If we don’t let them aggressively roll over everything that is important to us, they refuse to cooperate.

It could make the Republicans rally around Ted Cruz. This could be another opportunity for the Republicans to roll out the shiny, sparkly abortion football again. The fundamentalists will salivate over that and will completely forget that if there’s a 5th conservative justice again, the court’s priorities will be all about squashing labor and keeping people from voting again. All you need to do is look at recent history. Will fundamentalists look past the sinning junk on their bodies that Satan is controlling to think about the greater repercussions to their economic stability and ability to change their political minds in the future? I am not hopeful that fundies will grow brains overnight so expect them to go nutz with the baby murderer stuff again forgetting all about the job murderers that appreciate Scalia types.

This might be an issue for Trump and not in a good way. He doesn’t have Cruz’s nauseating religious bona fides.

On the Democratic side, it could potentially take the wind out of Bernie’s sails. If the GOP is steadfast about blocking a new justice, the party will want to unite around the stronger candidate going into the general. That’s assuming the Democrats still care about things like voting rights, which I am assuming they do.

By the way, I am not confident that Obama will nominate a liberal justice. He’s not a liberal and I have no idea how Kagan and Sotomayor will vote now that their votes might actually count for something. The titans of industry, both finance and Silicon Valley, have a completely different agenda and it also isn’t particularly nice to workers. So, who knows what will happen there? We’re all going to have to scrutinize records very carefully. If Obama nominates someone the Republicans can actually vote for, we could be right back to where we were yesterday morning when we all thought that Scalia was just sleeping in.

What’s your prognostications? See any twists in this story coming up? Who do you trust and who is going to benefit from Scalia’s death? Add your comments below.

Update: From the NYTimes post on Scalia’s legacy comes this comment from John0123 that sums it up perfectly:

John0123

Denver 17 hours ago

I’m about as grief-stricken over this news as Scalia would have been to hear that liberal poster John0123 had died.

Former justice Scalia always assumed he was the smartest guy in the room and often came close to saying so. Unfortunately his personal “strict constructionism” was a sham in light of the highly activist rulings he either wrote or joined. Citizens United comes immediately to mind, where he gleefully conferred personhood upon corporations and the status of speech upon money..

How will the so-called “conservatives” in the Senate play this? Moderate President Obama is very likely to name a moderate replacement. Will the fire-breathers in the Senate get a grip on themselves and take a good deal while they can get it, or will they roll the dice on the 2016 election and run the considerable risk of having a President Hillary or a President Bernie name Scalia’s much more progressive replacement?

At least one of us readers isn’t buying into the crazy notion that Obama is a liberal.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

sweetchocobear

 

Proud Nations

rainbow-wallpaper-18Congratulations to everyone out there who can now share equally in the benefits of marriage that the state provides. That’s justice. No longer will same sex couples find themselves locked out of hospital rooms, denied tax breaks and excluded from other benefits that heterosexual couples have taken for granted for centuries.

Just out of curiosity, I girded my loins and went over to Fox News to check out the reaction from the hysterically nauseated homophobes who think that this ruling is going to precipitate the end of civilization as we know it. It’s always amusing to watch their reactions, especially since they seem to be in denial about what modern heterosexual married couples do to each other in bed. But, whatever. Not my problem.

But I did see this little bit of stupidity on their breathless “the-World-is-going-to-end-now-that-the-gays-can-marry” page. Take a look:

We don’t have to guess about the sociological implications of Friday’s decision. Stanley Kurtz, a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, contends that the legitimization of same-sex unions in Scandinavian countries has caused the heterosexual marriage rate to drop dramatically, while the number of children born out of wedlock has risen, resulting in numerous societal problems.

The reason for the drop in the heterosexual marriage rate is clear:  if marriage can be redefined to include any and every relationship, then why bother to marry at all? Anytime you counterfeit something, you cheapen the value of the real thing, and gay marriage is “counterfeit marriage” (In fairness, heterosexuals have also been cheapening the value of marriage for years through adultery and divorce.)

As a Christian, I am most concerned about the spiritual implications of Friday’s decision. During the oral arguments for this case on April 28, Justice Kennedy noted that the traditional definition of marriage “has been with us for millennia. It’s very difficult for the Court to say, ‘Oh, well, we know better.’”

Friday, the Supreme Court said in essence, “We know better than God how to define marriage.”  For thousands of years both Christians and Jews have believed in both the Old and New Testament definition of marriage that was  written by Moses and affirmed by Jesus Himself when He said that God “made them male and female … For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh” (Matthew 19:4-5).

Jesus taught that sex was a gift from God between one man and one woman in a marriage relationship. Any variation from that—premarital sex, adultery, polygamy, unbiblical divorce, or homosexuality—is a deviation from God’s original plan for sex.  Friday’s Supreme Court decision represents a collective shaking of our fists in God’s face saying , “We don’t care what You say about life’s most important relationship. We know best.”

The guy who wrote this about the effects of marriage in Scandinavia clearly doesn’t understand the research but this is really how these people think.

They don’t get it that the reason why marriage rates are down in Scandinavia is because the social safety net there is so strong, and, I’ve heard from people who have actually lived in Sweden that the culture worships children, that there is no need to get married if you become pregnant. The parent-child relationship is considered so important that the state makes sure that it’s strong with economic assistance and job security. In Finland, for example, each new baby gets a gift box of clothes, diapers, blankets and other goodies (including condoms for the parents). The maternity box even serves as a first bed complete with a mattress. How cool is that? I’ll tell you, it’s very cool. And it doesn’t matter how much money you have. Every child is entitled to the same start in life in Finland. That’s so, so, what’s the word? Enlightened, or kind, or fair-minded or something.

Commie slacker parasite newborns in Finland get these things in a maternity box without putting any of their delicate scrumptious skin in the game

Even if Scandinavian countries didn’t force their citizens to get gay married, they would still have this incredible safety net for children and their parents regardless of marital status. There is no shame or economic pain attached to having children out of wedlock in Scandinavia so there’s no need to get married. Imagine that! Having children because you want them regardless of whether you are married. Why, that would almost make abortion unnecessary.

As for cheapening marriage, the exact opposite is true with this supreme court ruling. In fact, it shows just how valuable marriage is to all people who can derive real tax benefits and other privileges from the state sanctioned married state. It kind of reinforces how important that license is. If you’ve got it, your retirement bennies are transferable, your property is covered, you can give your trusted partner the authority to act on your behalf should you become incapacitated. You know, important stuff. Now, gay and lesbian couples can have those very valuable benefits. That’s all this ruling means.

Of course there’s more to it than that from a societal point of view. It does give married same-sex couples the dignity they’ve been forced to carry all by themselves. By the way, is there something seriously wrong with Clarence Thomas or what? I’m beginning to think he has some kind of personality disorder. But if what Atrios calls “the Olds” don’t want to join the party and celebrate, fine, let them go sulk in a corner. Their opinions are becoming increasingly irrelevant.

It’s really too bad that so many people felt coerced into marriage back before the Pill and are projecting their envy and bitterness on the rest of society. They do have a choice. They can be Calvinistic crepe hangers or they can let their Grinchy little hearts grow 5 sizes by enjoying other people’s happiness. But they seem determined to not only refuse to evolve but also to prevent other people from evolving too. And their chosen media seems willing to support their stubborness. I ask myself, what’s in it for Fox News and the wealthy people it represents? Because when they say it’s not about the money, it’s about the money. Well, Fox News is catering to the olds now but that’s not going to last forever.

Anyway, that brings us to the whole silly so-called “Christian” thing.

I don’t care.

No, seriously.

I don’t care what you believe. It’s none of my business. In any case, if the bible is nothing more to me than bronze age and iron age writings and not some divinely inspired rule book, then it’s useless to keep bringing it up as something I need to pay attention to. There are better sources of morality than that book.

Just like it’s none of your business to decide what people do in the privacy of their own homes between two consenting adults. There’s absolutely no reason for you to get involved in that. I’m not interested in your reasons for why you think this is your business or why it makes you feel superior to judge and criticize people so wholly unconnected with you in an attempt to shame them and deprive them of their happiness.

If that’s what it means to be Christian these days, it’s not a very good recruiting tool. That’s what the current research is showing as well. It’s anti-evangelical. Not only is it not working, it’s turning people off from the Republican party. That’s got to be of some concern to the small evil group who runs Fox News and the world to whom no one we know belongs.

Republican cruel, harshly punitive “you’re on your own” brand conservatism and fundamentalist evangelical so-called “Christians” are inextricably tied to one another in the minds of voters now. You just wait and see, somehow, the party has to ditch you people to make itself look cool and attractive again. It’s coming. And if it’s as cruel to you as you have been to the LGBT community, African Americans, poor hungry children and the unemployed, well, you have it coming. It will probably look something like the Republican party aggressively courting libertarians and younger people who have been forced to pay the freight on every little thing your generation took for granted. They’ll start looking at your Social Security benefits as something they shouldn’t have to pay for. Generational warfare.

But for you diehard “Christian” homophobes, I just think that’s a waste of time to be grumpy, unattractive, religious bigots, After all, it’s not gay people who are making working peoples’ lives miserable and eroding our quality of life. Where people, gay or straight. put their naughty bits, has nothing to do with the erosion of the middle class or income instability or exploitative profit mining of American working people by the wealthy and well-connected or whether the conservatives that frequent Fox News really, really hate Social Security with a white hot passion (because they do).

Funny that Fox News would spend its fury on same sex marriage and abortion when the plight of the long term unemployed gets completely ignored.

I don’t think that Jesus would approve.

Fox News viewers are perfectly OK with being lied to; they really just hate non-conservatives

In the morning, he’ll be talking in word salads and punching the unemployed.

That’s really what this comes down to.

According to Gawker, Fox News doesn’t feel it needs to defend Bill O’Reilly anymore:

Update, 5:40 p.m.: Two hours after this post was published, Fox provided the following statement to Mediaite (without addressing the substance of the Media Matters report):

Bill O’Reilly has already addressed several claims leveled against him. This is nothing more than an orchestrated campaign by far left advocates Mother Jones and Media Matters. Responding to the unproven accusation du jour has become an exercise in futility. FOX News maintains its staunch support of O’Reilly, who is no stranger to calculated onslaughts.

Bill has addressed the lies about the Falklands, although there are new lies now about his involvement in the JFK assassination conspiracy. Plus, he claims he witnessed nuns being executed in El Salvador when records show he wasn’t even in the country at the time the events happened.

It’s more important to fling poo at those institutions that are trying to keep Bill O’Reilly honest than to force Bill O’Reilly to actually be honest.

But no matter. I never expected Fox would censure O’Reilly in the same way that NBC disciplined Brian Williams. Part of this is because NBC still clings tenaciously to the concept of being a news organization while Fox News does not.

Come to think of it, wasn’t it Fox News that won a Supreme Court victory several years back that made it Ok for it to lie? Yeah, it was something like, it doesn’t have to tell the truth. There’s nothing in the constitution that says that a media outlet that purports to report the news has to do so honestly or something to that effect. They all might lie but Fox News takes pride in being audaciously dishonest and getting away with it. It’s that audacity to flout the rules, while demanding everyone else adhere to some purity test, that I suspect is the real attraction for the Fox News viewer. It’s the thrill of making everyone else march to Fox’s drummer.

So, it doesn’t really matter what you throw at Bill O’Reilly, Fox is going to stand by him and they’ll pretend that they have addressed all of the accusations adequately and it’s only the left wing media and enemies that are going for Bill.

But it would be wrong to assume that it’s only MMFA or some radical Decembrist faction of a commie left that wants to bring down Bill O’Reilly and Fox News. Hey, I didn’t vote for Obama-twice! I have been called a racist for not sticking with my tribe when what *I* saw in 2008 was an inexperienced but ruthlessly ambitious opportunist hired to carry out the wishes of the financial services industry that was about to lose its shirt in the worst financial crisis since the 1930’s. My objection to Obama is he is really a country club moderately conservative Republican and he’s governed like one. So, how does the Fox News conditioned viewer handle people like me? I’ve seen the confusion in their eyes when they try to reconcile what they’ve been told with the fact that I am standing there saying I am a liberal who loathes Obama for purely non-racial reasons. It’s like watching Fembots about to explode. They can’t quite grasp it.

(Now that I think of it, I’ve seen some lefties have the same reaction. There’s a nugget of a problem there that the left has not accepted about its own side.)

No, the fighters against Fox extend beyond the usual suspects. It includes anyone who has to sit with brain dead relatives at dinner who have become mean spirited, crotchety, vile, bigots robotically spitting ultra-conservative nonsense in a garbled illogical word salad. Those people go out and vote, because they’re angry, and they don’t sound like they know what they’re supposed to be angry about. Nothing they say makes any damn sense. And it’s very difficult to want to be around them because they behave as if they’ve had a lobotomy. You can’t construct a logical argument with people who have had conditioned responses and thought-stopping reactions to anything you say. Seriously, they can contradict themselves several times in the same sentence and never even realize it. They are operating in pure fearful, emotional, enraged mode, thinking there is a child molester behind the potted plants and that the Muslims are going to kill them in their beds while they unknowingly support the most regressive economic theories the conservative right has to offer because God, or something.

The John Birch Society ain’t got nothing on Bill O’Reilly and Fox News. John Birch was fringe until Fox came along. And Bill has a single talent. He is extremely effective at turning perfectly ordinary people into obnoxious right wing Archie Bunker types who actively celebrate their willful ignorance and call themselves holy. That is a gift to the ultra wealthy. The rich and powerful will fight tooth and nail to protect Bill O’Reilly. He is their golden goose. His distortions and ability to provoke irrational anger keeps his audience in a state of poised suspension, ready to hurl themselves like zombies at the first fresh brains O’Reilly shakes in front of them. As informed citizens, they’re useless to the rest of us and, in most cases, actively harm their families and friends by their inability to see when they’ve been flimflammed. It’s pure gold to the small evil group that runs the world and to whom no one we know belongs.

The true Fox News watcher will joyfully accept their role as a minion to the corrupt. They will tell you that there is nothing you can do to change a corrupt system except pray for the second coming. How this justifies joining the army of corruption, I’ll never understand, unless it is to bask in the glory of being on the side of the powerful, especially those corrupt powerful who masquerade as godly. It sort of reminds me of the people who are flocking to the middle east to join ISIS. We all know ISIS is brutal, totalitarian and mindless but some people are attracted to that. Fox News only beheads people metaphorically. Its enemies still suffer the same fate, and the meanness, misogyny and cruelty is still there, but there’s less blood.

Oh sure, things were different when the typical Fox News view was younger. People were more helpful, there was a real sense of community, labor was stronger and public education was better and well funded. But they seem incapable of figuring out how we got to this place where we have gone back to the economic conditions that lead to the Great Depression. They do not see the role of Fox News in the process.

And that’s just the way Fox likes it. So, no need to draw further attention to itself. Defending Bill is just going to make it look like it needs to defend Bill and that’s not the kind of face Fox wants to present to the world. That shows a sense of vulnerability. The Fox News viewer doesn’t want to feel vulnerable. Fox wants to look impregnable, a mighty fortress against the commie left even if it’s more like a prison for the gullible.

Ok, we all know it. There are things we can not change in this world. So we must continually chant the serenity prayer as we watch Fox, and media like it, tear the fabric of our country apart. There’s nothing we can do about Fox News and it’s ability to lie, distort, mislead and destroy. We can only wait until the vulnerable reduce in numbers and the younger, less religiously motivated internet era demographic matures. Fox News will just become another niche channel for the unhinged. Then we will start the long, hard slog to recovery, reversing all the crap it has flung at us.

Thursday: Assholes R Us

Did you see this list of the top majors for the 1%?

We got an interesting question from an academic adviser at a Texas university: could we tell what the top 1 percent of earners majored in?

The writer, sly dog, was probably trying to make a point, because he wrote from a biology department, and it turns out that biology majors make up nearly 7 percent of college graduates who live in households in the top 1 percent.

According to the Census Bureau’s 2010 American Community Survey, the majors that give you the best chance of reaching the 1 percent are pre-med, economics, biochemistry, zoology and, yes, biology, in that order.

Undergraduate Degree Total % Who Are 1 Percenters Share of All 1 Percenters
Health and Medical Preparatory Programs 142,345 11.8% 0.9%
Economics 1,237,863 8.2% 5.4%
Biochemical Sciences 193,769 7.2% 0.7%
Zoology 159,935 6.9% 0.6%
Biology 1,864,666 6.7% 6.6%
International Relations 146,781 6.7% 0.5%
Political Science and Government 1,427,224 6.2% 4.7%
Physiology 98,181 6.0% 0.3%
Art History and Criticism 137,357 5.9% 0.4%
Chemistry 780,783 5.7% 2.4%
Molecular Biology 64,951 5.6% 0.2%
Area, Ethnic and Civilization Studies 184,906 5.2% 0.5%
Finance 1,071,812 4.8% 2.7%
History 1,351,368 4.7% 3.3%
Business Economics 108,146 4.6% 0.3%
Miscellaneous Psychology 61,257 4.3% 0.1%
Philosophy and Religious Studies 448,095 4.3% 1.0%
Microbiology 147,954 4.2% 0.3%
Chemical Engineering 347,959 4.1% 0.8%
Physics 346,455 4.1% 0.7%
Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Sciences and Administration 334,016 3.9% 0.7%
Accounting 2,296,601 3.9% 4.7%
Mathematics 840,137 3.9% 1.7%
English Language and Literature 1,938,988 3.8% 3.8%
Miscellaneous Biology 52,895 3.7% 0.1%
Source: 2010 American Communty Survey, via ipums.org
{{hangs head in shame}}

See??  This is yet another reason to invest in research.  If you don’t keep us in the lab and pay us well, we’ll go to work on Wall Street.  Nice economy you’ve got there.  Be a shame if something *happened* to it.

I suspect that the large number of geeks on Wall Street represents the number of quants hired to construct and run the dynamic models.  Take D. E. Shaw, billionaire biologist, for example. While he’s running a hedge fund, he’s got a sideline creating molecular dynamics simulations programs on proteins.  I can definitely see the crossover but what the top dogs probably fail to realize is that to the geeks, the programs are just research, as in “what would happen if we tweaked this parameter?” and there goes the Euro. God, help us.

Ironically, major pharmaceutical companies are run by former ketchup company executives and salesmen.  Go figure.  What we really need is for everyone to stick to their own kind.  No more of this mixing of the majors.  It’s unnatural.

However, this study just confirms my suspicions that it is much easier for a hard sciences major to learn business and finance than a business major to learn the hard sciences. And we in the research industries are going to pay for that lack of intellectual reciprocity.

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Did you catch the article in Vanity Fair titled National Public Rodeo about the Juan Williams at NPR fiasco?  There’s a sad little tale of karmic justice in it, considering the way the candidates and Fox treated him in South Carolina.  His story sounds vaguely familiar.  Stop me if you’ve heard this before.

Flashy African-American dude with gigs at prestigious institutions gets hired by a bunch of solidly middle class, no-nonsense, Minnesota-type liberals.  They’re thrilled to be adding to the diversity of their lineup; he thinks he’s doing them a favor.  Turns out he’s an “idea rat”, not a workhorse, he’s considerably more conservative than they realize, and he has a history of lack of respectful treatment of women.  They would have known this if they had bothered to check out his background a bit more thoroughly but they’re blinded by their instinct to do good or fear of looking unfairly and tastelessly bigoted.  The staff and management try to accommodate his quirks and his moonlighting for their arch enemy.  But after half a decade, it’s just not working out.  They try talking to him but whenever they try to rein him back in, he starts accusing them of racism.  Everything is racism to him.  Racism, racism, racism.  So, they sit and wait until he royally fucks up in some spectacular way and then they fire him.  And the ones who fire him who end up losing their jobs in a firestorm of conservative vs liberal rhetoric- and accusations of racism.

It’s either a misunderstanding of worldviews or it’s a clever, common strategy to accuse your detractors of the most vile, prejudicial instincts in order to get what you want.  Too bad it bit him in the ass in South Carolina.  I almost feel sorry for the guy.  But he took the bait from Fox News and they own him now.

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I’ve been following Jeff Jarvis’s Tweets from Davos, Switzerland.  He snarked this tweet late yesterday:

jeffjarvis Jeff Jarvis

Now in the more fun part of #WEF: brainstorming sessions. Surprising that execs will play.

Jeff seems astonished that there is still no sense of responsibility among the uber rich.  They either don’t realize or callously don’t care about all of the misery they’re causing.  Or, maybe it’s all part of the plan.  What strikes me as odd about the very rich is that it seems like they live in a California-esque paradise of self-esteem programs.  No one has ever told them what stupid, selfish excuses for human beings they are.  They’ve never had any “character building” experiences.  You know the kind?  Whenever you needed something really badly, like a college education, and your parents didn’t have the cash to at least keep you from starving, they always said it would build your character?  I should have a rock solid foundation of character by now.  Not so the uber rich.  Their voices are “full of money” and they have no sense of guilt for running over people who get in their way.

jeffjarvis Jeff Jarvis

BofA’s Moynihan responds that bankers will bear their scars for many years to come. So will we all. #wef

Somewhere, I hear the world’s tiniest violin…

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The right’s boogieman, George Soros, says that if Mitt Romney is the nominee, there won’t be much of a difference between a Obama administration and a Romney administration.  The best shot Democrats have to retain the White House is for Santorum or Gingrich to get the nomination.  I happen to disagree with this.  Republicans, well, movement conservatives, will pull out all of the stops if Gingrich gets the nomination.  They want to win and all of the misery of the past three years will be dumped on Obama, some of it for good reason.  He squandered his opportunity to drag the country leftwards to the middle when he first took office and had a filibuster proof majority.

And why did he fail to do that?  It’s because he doesn’t believe in it.  He told you on Tuesday night that he was a moderate Republican.  He’s been saying that for four years now.  His heros are Ronald Reagan, Teddy Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.  Doesn’t anyone ever notice that he doesn’t cite any Democrats as his role models?  Well, for one thing, no one believed that crap about him being the second coming of FDR so he had to drop it.  I think that forcing him to actually say he is a Democrat supporting strong Democratic values is physically and psychologically painful for him but I encourage the doubters to try.  Try to make him say something nice about LBJ or Bill Clinton.  Watch him flinch.

Anyway, Soros says he’s worried about the Supreme Court.  I’m not too worried.  I suspect that Ruth Bader-Ginsburg will announce her retirement before the election and will be replaced.  That leaves the composition of the court stable.  It would be different if Alito or Thomas or Kennedy stepped down but for some reason the Supremes have a history of living to a ripe old age whether we like it or not.

Here’s the rest of Soros’ interview from Davos, who, by the way, is also suffering from the failure to imaginate any other contest than the one between the Republicans and the Republican disguised as a Democrat. There are simply no other alternatives, like, replacing the Republican running as a Democrat with a real Democrat. I’m beginning to think that Soros is the one playing 11 dimensional chess here.:

Tuesday: Convergence, Ladies?

Is there a war on women?  Kalli Joy Gray asked that question of White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer at this year’s Netroots Nation.  Melissa McEwan at Shakesville documented the atrocity here.  Here’s the YouTube video.  You decide:

I like the part where she says something like, “PLEASE don’t bring up Lily Ledbetter. We’re tired of that.”  And then, almost the very next thing he talks about is- Lily Ledbetter.  BUT, Pfeiffer says, Obama is supportive of the Paycheck Fairness Act.  Yes, I can almost picture it now.  Obama, standing at the window at the White House, looking down the Mall towards the rotunda and whispering to Pfeiffer:

“Those poor little things.  That act is never going to be passed.  I wish I could do something for them.  Go, Dan, go  and be my man in Minneapolis, tell them how I, Feminist in my Heart, that I support them.  If only I knew how…  If only I were President and knew how to use the bully pulpit or had enough experience in congress to manipulate legislators like Clinton did or just knew how to exercise the levers of the executive branch with signing statements…or something.”

What I think we are witnessing in this exchange between Pfeiffer and Gray is contempt.  She’s justifiably angry but he is contemptuous.  Why else would he have offered such a lame defense of Obama’s policies for women?  He’s not even *trying*.  Maybe the White House figured that after 2008, Netroots Nation attendees were not too bright.  I don’t think that’s the case.  They just happen to have fault lines and weaknesses like every other bunch of humans on the planet.  They had just suffered through 8 years of Bush.  They wanted a hero.

Ok, nevermind.  That was stupid.

Nevertheless, they are pretty smart people in that room.  Minneapolis experienced a general increase in collective IQ when it hosted Netroots Nation and there tends to be more women at this event than the media lets on.  But Pfeiffer came to NN almost completely unprepared and fumbled when he brought out that tired old crap that the Obama administration feeds to what they think are the stupid masses.  “Lily Ledbetter.  They probably don’t even know what that is.  Whatever.  Why do *I* have to go to Minneapolis??  Everyone else is going to be drinking beer and playing pool this weekend.”

Like this:

The Politico post says criticism of the Obama staffers who showed up at a Georgetown bar to drink beer and relax was limited mostly to conservative blogs.  Well, I am not a conservative but this picture speaks volumes to me.  The shirts came off supposedly, because the staffers got caught in a rain storm and their clothes were wet.  But as you will note, there are a couple women in this pic and their tops are on.  Women don’t take their wet sopping clothes off in public no matter how cold, clingy and uncomfortable they are.  The guys just whip them off.  Not a problem.

I suspect some readers are going to get distracted by the rules of propriety for women in a public place but they would be missing the point.  If you are a working woman, and the women in this pic are colleagues of the men, you know that there are certain symbols that separate the men from the “girls”. The power tie is one of them. This kind of crap is another.  How you are allowed to dress, are expected to dress, does make a difference.  I could care less if they all got a little toasted after a hard day at work.  But when you go out with your female colleagues, you should keep your shirt on.  We can tell from this picture who has the power on the Obama staff and their professional opinion of their female colleagues.  This is what leads to the tone deafness from Pfeiffer and the Lily Ledbetter crap.  Little things, like the ability to go shirtless at a bar, make a difference in your attitude towards the women you work with.  It’s like a bunch of naked guys having a meeting in a sauna.  You can’t invite the ladies.

By the way, when did Obama last go golfing with Jan Brewer or Debbie Wasserman- Shultz?  Last week, Obama, Biden, Ohio governor Kasich and John Boener (R-Ohio) Speaker of the House, did a round of golf, presumably to hammer out some kind of deal (that for some strange reason couldn’t get legislated in public…).  Obama doesn’t go golfing with many women, or at least, *I* never hear about it.

NPR’s All Things Considered read mail from listeners defending the president’s golf meetings that are looking increasingly out of touch in these days of high unemployment and falling wages:

Now on to some other mail. Yesterday, I talked with Peter Finch, an editor at Golf Digest. This, as President Obama, Vice President Biden, House Speaker Boehner and Ohio Governor Kasich prepared to tee-off tomorrow. So, Finch offered some tips for conducting business on the golf course.

Mr. PETER FINCH (Editor, Golf Digest): I think it makes it much easier to approach somebody and to talk to them about things that you want to accomplish together after you’ve played that around.

SIEGEL: Well, Al Arismandez(ph), of Redondo Beach, California, writes to say that he has completed deals on the golf course and he offers this advice: Once you’ve cheered or applauded a successful golf shot of a playing partner, or commiserated with them in a poorly executed one, there is a quick if not deep look into that golfer’s humanity. That’s the kind of insight and understanding that can go a long way, much longer than my tee shot on hole number one.

Hmmm, seems to me that Obama is missing out on a whole lot of female humanity in his golf-business-deal making meetings.  Maybe if he invited more women, they would tell him to STFU about Lily Ledbetter.

So, what does this have to do with the “war on women”?  In one of the biggest battles of the war, the neanderthals won yesterday when in a 5-4 decision in a gender discrimination suit, the conservative men of the Supreme Court told the women of the Supreme Court, and by extension, all the rest of the working women of this country, that the women plaintiffs didn’t have enough in common to bring a class action suit against Walmart.

What’s the big deal, Scalia seems to say.

It’s dumbfounding but I guess you just have to live through it to understand what is going on in the working world.  You have to be one of the women in the department who watches her male colleagues, but NEVER her female colleagues, eat lunch with the new male director every day in the cafeteria.  You have watch your female colleague work her ass off and deliver quality work, go out of her way to stay until 9:30pm at night to get it done, and still watch one of the precious and few promotions go to a guy who essentially has done nothing in nine years.  Hmmm, was he a lunch guy?  Why, yes, yes he was!  Presumably, the manager was able to get a quick look into the humanity of his male subordinate lunch partner as they commiserated over a poorly executed stir fry chicken and vegetables. You’d have to be a female member of a department where all the other females are much more junior than any male member of the department. You’d have to put up with, but never complain about, the sabotage of your agency and authority at work. You’d have to see your promotional opportunities continually lag behind your male colleagues year after year.  You’d have to endure more critical reviews of your work, less praise and still be expected to suck it up and find some kind of internal reward system to keep on going.  You’d have to get used to living in a smaller house, driving a cheaper car and watching your money more carefully.  Don’t even think about golf.  There will be informal meetings and strategizing and divvying up of the pie that go on you will never be a party to.  Get used to it or go home.

It’s not at all surprising to me that three of the four dissenters on the Supreme Court were the only women, Kagan, Sotomayor and Bader-Ginsburg.  What’s disturbing is that the five males on the other side had the nerve to tell someone with Bader-Ginsburg’s expertise that the women of the Walmart suit couldn’t link their cases together because they had nothing in common and the company as a whole was not responsible for the decisions of individual regional managers.  It doesn’t matter that women as a whole at Walmart can’t seem to break through that glass ceiling no matter what they do or how hard they try.

Right there on the Supreme Court we see a microcosm of what’s going on in the rest of the working world.  The three women are the most junior justices; Sotomayor and Kagan because of their tenure and Bader-Ginsburg due to the unfortunate failure of her party to take the White House for decades.  The people in charge on the Court are 5 men who have the nerve to tell the three women that there’s nothing going on at Walmart.  Jeez, why don’t they just shut up and get back to work?  We have to go duck hunting with our buddies.

Well, I have a confession to make.  I hate those 5 men.  No, really, I do.  I could never act as an agent of their deaths but I can’t wait until one of them pops off from some stroke or disease or accident or impeachment.  It can’t come too soon.

And I am swearing off Walmart until they lose a couple of billion.  When the shareholders are screaming for the male executives heads, maybe they’ll institute a company wide gender discrimination policy and rigorously hold managers accountable for violating it.  The male jerks of the Supreme Court won’t make them do it so the women shoppers of America will have to do it.  Even my 72 year old mom is livid.

Unemployment is high, the wars wage on, health care continues to be expensive, people are losing their houses and Obama is still trotting out Lily Ledbetter.  And more and more of us are asking ourselves, how come we can’t have Hillary in 2012?  What better way to guarantee that when one of those five assholes bites the dust that a woman who “gets it” is appointed?  With Hillary in the White House, there are potentially eight years to wait out Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, Kennedy and Alito, the conservative Catholic lockdown on American women. The way the economy is going and in light of his subpar performance evaluation for the past four years, Obama might not make the cut next year.

Do women really want to take that chance?  What say you, male attendees of Netroots Nation?  Do you want to continue to condemn your sisters to a lifetime of second class status?  Or are you all talk and beer and no shirts?  Can you get over your love affair with Obama long enough to help us even the playing field or are you going to persist in your clueless hostility for “that woman”?

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